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non conforming not 25 feet from the street. My uncle has since died and my aunt is on dialysis three times a week and needs a ramp. What do we do next?

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This is going to be a zoning department issue, not building department. This makes it easier to get a variance, as building codes are hard and fast and no exceptions. Zoning ordinances, however, are more flexible, as they usually don't have to do with safety or structural issues. Setback requirements are there to keep people from building on top of each other. I wonder if anyone has set a precedent in your town with a ramp and a variance?
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Under ADA, a private home cannot be forced to install a ramp. BUT Permanent ramps are subject to local building codes whether being constructed in a residential or commercial application. So yes IF you build one, it has to meet the code spec.
If the existing building code is too restrictive and would prevent you building a ramp, you challenge the code under "Reasonable Accommodation" for a handicapped person. Generally you WILL get a variance permit. For example, where I live, you cannot ride a golf cart around. BUT my daughter, who had brain cancer, was granted a variance by the police department when I cited "reasonable accommodation" under ADA. The chief agreed that if the cart had seatbelts and a helmet, she could use side streets during daylight hours. She could not go on state or county roads or drive at night. Reasonable.
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Ronnie, Linda's right. ADA doesn't govern home ramps, but building and use restrictions established by the local community do. Lawrence is challenging the latter.
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Clarification - public buildings as in open to general public like stores, restaurants, not just goverment buildings.
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ADA doesn't apply to private residences so our homes don't have to be accessible to people with wheelchairs. ADA only applies to public buildings and public housing, such as that which falls under the Fair Housing Act.
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If appeals to sensible people does not cut the mustard on this pertinent issue, then a portable ramp seems the only possible solution.

There is a law in the USA that all buildings etc MUST be accessible to people in wheelchairs.

Talk to your Senator and/or Representative, and by all means do notify the local media.

Good luck.

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llawrence, just to share a bit, the local post office put in a ramp, all concrete with iron railings. It immediately had to be demolished because it was not in compliance with ADA regulations, it was too steep. Make sure the specs are correct.
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Seems like a good case for a zoning variance. Your aunt has a life threatening condition, requiring dialysis. She is in a wheelchair and needs the ramp to get to dialysis. The required slope per the International Building Code (which the building department has probably adopted and will be the guidelines they use) is 1 unit vertical to 12 units horizontal, which means this ramp is going to encroach into the 25' setback. You should be able to find the schedule online for the zoning hearing meetings and the deadline to submit your variance application for the next meeting. ADA doesn't come into play with private residences.
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Thank you for the responses. You would think that the contractor haa been through this before and that the planning board and building dept would know their jobs. I am meeting with someone next week to have an on site meeting. Thanks.
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llawrence you are correct. As a former planner ADA requires that there be a process in place to address the need for ramps, which are required to be in compliance with regulations. This may be through a Variance procedure with the Planning Department where you live. Many governments have the code available online. The company that is building the ramp has most likely had to go through the process before.
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Could a ramp be placed at the back door of the home? Or would there be no access to a paved walkway?
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llawrence, generally there is an appeals process. neighbors within 250 ft are notified that you are requesting a variance, and if none object, the variance is usually granted. Contact your councilman to discuss the appeal. You have a good basis for appeal, in that the handicapped must have "reasonable accommodation".
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Thank you for your response.
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We are not compromising the ramp. There is plenty of room for a ramp it is just not within the city's code of 25 feet from the street. There should be something that overrides these codes for the handicapped and elderly.
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Contact the building and inspection department of the community, ask what the specific requirements are. You have no choice but to comply with the reqs.

Don't even try to override it; you won't get anywhere.

Ramps need to be built with a specific pitch (rise over the run) and railings, so the best option you have is to comply. The requirements were designed with safety in mind.

Ask the building inspection department for a printout of the specs, and any recommendations he/she might have for other contractors who've built ramps in your community.

Assistive adaptation is not something all contractors do, so you want one with experience in ramp construction.

A skilled and experienced contractor can determine a way to comply if there's an issue with the ramp being too close to the street.

In the meantime, contact the Area Agency on Aging and Google ramp construction for your area. Some DMEs have portable ramps that can be attached while you're working on resolving the issue of a permanent ramp.

The AAA annual expos (in SE Michigan) always include contractors with adaptive device experience. The AAA may have a list that you can contact.

Good luck.
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Can you give some more details? Did the zoning board deny it?
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